Governor Dayton calls on all Minnesotans to cheer on, support 19 Minnesota Olympians
Today, Governor Mark Dayton recognized the 19 Minnesota athletes preparing to compete in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games. Governor Dayton issued a proclamation today declaring February 7, 2014, to be Minnesota Winter Olympians Day, and called on all Minnesotans to support our athletes at the Winter Games1.
"I am one of many Minnesotans, who grew up dreaming of making the U.S. Olympic team. Few athletes, however, have the exceptional talent and extraordinary dedication needed to reach this sports zenith," said Governor Dayton. “For all Minnesotans, I send our state's Olympians our heartiest congratulations for their amazing achievements. We are proud to send our very best wishes to Minnesota's athletes and to the entire Team USA."
Minnesotans have a proud tradition of representing the United States at the Winter Olympics. This year is no exception, with 19 Minnesotans representing the United States in a variety of competitions at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This is more than all neighboring states combined, and ties Minnesota for the second-most Winter Olympians of any state in the nation, behind only California (a state with more than 38 million residents).
Cheer on Minnesota’s 2014 Winter Olympians
Minnesota’s Winter Olympians will compete in a variety of different sports including: biathlon, curling, ice hockey, Nordic skiing, and speed skating. Minnesotans can learn more about their hometown athletes and follow their events by clicking these links to the Team USA website:
David Backes, Minneapolis, Men’s Ice Hockey
Backes is the captain of the St. Louis Blues’ Hockey Team. A native of Minneapolis, he played three years of college hockey at Minnesota State University at Mankato before turning professional in 2006. At six feet, three inches, Backes is known for his determination and physical style of play.
Jessie Diggins, Afton, Women’s Nordic Skiing
At 22-years-old, Diggins is the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Women’s Nordic Ski Team. As a Stillwater Pony, she won three Minnesota state high school Nordic ski titles. Continuing that success, Diggins won a gold medal at the 2013 FIS World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Justin Faulk, South Saint Paul, Men’s Ice Hockey
Only 21-years-old, Faulk is an up-and-coming professional hockey star for the Carolina Hurricanes. Before turning professional, Faulk played high school hockey for South Saint Paul and helped lead the University of Minnesota Duluth to a National Championship in 2011.
Jeff Isaacson, Virginia, Men’s Curling
Issacson has been competitively curling since 1996. The 2014 Olympics will be his second time representing the United States. In 2010, Issacson was part of American squad that finished 10th. This year, Team USA will be looking for redemption and an Olympic medal.
John Landsteiner, Mapleton, Men’s Curling
Landsteiner currently resides in Duluth, where he competes as a member of the Duluth Curling Club. Though he is only 23 years-old, Landsteiner has plenty of curling experience – winning bronze medals at both the 2012 and 2013 U.S. National Championships.
Photo credit: Eric Schmuttenmaer, Flickr
Governor Dayton takes executive action to help tens of thousands of families in propane crisis
As Minnesota’s propane emergency continues – with heating fuel prices now three to four times their usual level – Governor Mark Dayton has taken executive action to expand eligibility for the state’s heating assistance program. That action, which was implemented this morning by the state’s Commissioner of Commerce, means an estimated 120,000 more Minnesota households will now qualify for assistance from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Minnesota Department of Commerce estimates that because of this change, an additional 30,000 to 40,000 newly-eligible Minnesotans will apply for heating assistance this winter.
The executive action announced by Governor Dayton today extends eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI. Under these new income guidelines, households of four earning less than $52,370 per year, for example, will now be eligible for heating assistance. A household of two earning less than $35,612 per year would qualify. By expanding the LIHEAP program, Governor Dayton hopes to provide needed financial assistance for tens of thousands of Minnesota families who are now struggling to pay for the rising price of propane and other heating fuels.
“Minnesotans across our state are living in fear that they will run out of the fuels they need to keep their families safe and warm,” said Governor Dayton. “This crisis requires immediate action, which I have taken today. I will continue to do everything I can to ensure the safety of our citizens during this serious emergency.”
The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil. These increased allocations will apply to all Minnesota households now eligible for LIHEAP assistance under the executive action announced today.
How to Apply for Heating Assistance
The executive action announced today extends eligibility for heating assistance from 50 percent of the state median income (SMI) to 60 percent of SMI, or $35,612 per year for a household of two and $52,370 per year for a household of four. Qualifying households must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area. Minnesota has 32 local service providers statewide. A list of local service providers, additional information on income guidelines, and guidance for how to apply for assistance is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website or by calling (800) 657-3710.
Governor Dayton Calls for Additional LIHEAP Funding
Skyrocketing propane prices, and a growing demand for propane, have put additional strain on the state’s LIHEAP program. Last week, the federal government allocated an additional $15.8 million in heating assistance funds for eligible Minnesota households. Despite that new allocation, without additional funding Minnesota’s heating assistance program is projected to run out of money sometime between March 10 and March 31, 2014.
To address that shortfall, Governor Dayton will seek the assistance of the federal government and, if necessary, the state legislature to appropriate additional funding to ensure that all Minnesotans who seek and qualify for LIHEAP assistance under the new eligibility guidelines will receive help in the remaining months of winter.
Governor Dayton notified state legislative leaders today that if the federal government does not provide additional LIHEAP funding for Minnesota, he plans to include $17 million of state funds for the program in his supplemental budget proposal – which will be completed shortly after the release of the upcoming state budget forecast.
Governor Dayton’s letter to legislative leaders can be found here.
Keeping homes heated at safe levels during the winter is extremely important – and Governor Dayton is working to help assist families from making tough choices about whether to heat their homes or buy food and medication.
Propane Shortage Hotline – Minnesota residents with questions about the current propane situation or who are in danger of running out of heating fuel can call 651-297-1304 in the metro area or 1-800-657-3504 in Greater Minnesota. The hotline is staffed with experts from the Minnesota Department of Commerce who can provide information about Energy Assistance Programs, connect callers with resources in their home county, and provide other information.
Emergency Executive Order – On Monday of this week, Governor Dayton issued Emergency Executive Order 14-02, declaring a Peacetime State of Emergency in Minnesota in response to a severe shortage of propane and home heating fuels statewide. The Governor has called an emergency meeting of the state’s Executive Council on Friday to consider extending that state of emergency for up to 30 days.
Protecting Consumers from Price Gouging – The Governor has also directed the Commissioner of Commerce to use his consumer protection authority to help guard Minnesotans from potential price gouging activities. On Wednesday, January 29, Commissioner Mike Rothman sent a letter to the propane industry concerning skyrocketing prices. It stated that he will take all necessary steps to protect consumers from potential price gouging and unlawful market manipulation. Consumers who believe they may have been the victim of price gouging are encouraged to contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce's Consumer Help Line at (651) 539-1500 or toll-free at (800) 657-3602.
Additional Financial Assistance for Consumers – Consumers who need financial assistance to pay their heating bills may also qualify for help through the Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). The Minnesota Department of Commerce recently announced that LIHEAP crisis payments would increase from $500 to $1,000 for applicants who heat their homes with propane and heating oil. Qualifying families must apply for assistance at the local service provider in their area; Minnesota has 32 local service providers. A list of local service providers and information on applying for assistance is available on the Minnesota Department of Commerce website or by calling 1-800-657-3710.
Working to Increase Propane Supplies – This week, Governor Dayton met with propane industry officials to identify immediate steps that can be taken to help resolve the propane supply and price issues. The meeting included Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman, and state legislators. The Governor also joined Minnesota’s Congressional Delegation in petitioning President Obama to knock down regulatory barriers, take additional steps to alleviate the shortage, and provide expanded relief to families and agriculture producers.
Other National and Federal Measures – The American Railway Association has asked its 175 members to prioritize propane delivery by making cars available and dropping propane shipments at necessary locations. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Transportation has established a regional emergency declaration suspending the regulatory provisions pertaining to hours of service for drivers of commercial motor vehicles transporting propane to affected Midwestern states.
If Minnesota is selected as host, it will be only the second time in NFL history and the first since 1992 when Super Bowl XXVI was held at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome.
Governor Mark Dayton announced today that an organized campaign is underway to pursue Super Bowl LII, happening February 4, 2018. Governor Dayton announced the following three Minneapolis-St. Paul business leaders to co-chair the effort:
• Doug Baker, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ecolab
• Marilyn Carlson Nelson, former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Carlson
• Richard Davis, Chairman/President/Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Bancorp
“The Super Bowl is the most watched annual event in the world. In addition to game attendees, it brings over 100,000 people to the host community for a weeklong celebration,” said Gov. Dayton. “Hosting the Super Bowl would bring enormous economic benefits to many Minnesota businesses, as well as provide a terrific opportunity to again showcase Minnesota to the world.”
Last Friday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the University of Minnesota - Duluth to have a conversation with students, faculty, and staff about recent investments Minnesota’s future. In 2013, the Governor worked closely with the Legislature to make major investments in job creation, property tax relief, and education. Governor Dayton’s budget invests $86.5 million in job creation efforts that will leverage $1.5 billion in private sector investment – creating thousands of good jobs. But, they didn’t stop there – they worked to provide middle class Minnesotans $400 million in needed property tax relief.
Click on the map to enlarge - click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF.
Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal is focused on making the kind of long term investments proven to create jobs. The bill would put up to 27,000 Minnesotans back to work by investing in improvements in infrastructure, our colleges and universities, and many other regional economic development projects.
The proposal also includes additional projects of statewide and regional importance, including investments in water, natural resources, and other important services for Minnesotans. See the attached document for a breakdown of regional highlights in the Governor’s Bonding Proposal.
Amount in Millions
Airline Terminal Expansion,
||The Governor recommends $2 million for a grant to the International Falls–Koochiching County Airport Commission to be used as the local match to federal funds to construct a new airline terminal facility located in International Falls. The total project cost is $11.3 million.
||The Governor recommends $5 million for a grant to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority to demolish the existing terminal and to construct a new passenger terminal and boarding bridge, and associated equipment at the Range Regional Airport. A local match is required.
NorShor Theatre Historic Renovation, Duluth
||The Governor recommends $6.95 million for a grant to the Duluth Economic Development Authority for renovations to the NorShor Arts Center. The state bond proceeds would be used specifically to facilitate skywalk and handicapped accessibility and provide public access to the newly renovated NorShor Arts Center. The total project cost is $22.35 million.
Northland Community & Technical College Aviation Maintenance Facility, Thief River Falls
||The Governor recommends $3.909 million to address the future needs of the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Imagery Analyst programs. This project includes demolition and replacement of technical space to meet program objectives and industry requirements.
Road Repair, Second Street South, Fosston
||The Governor recommends $400,000 for a grant to the City of Fosston to reconstruct Second Street South, bringing the road to a 10-ton capacity to accommodate both residential and farm-to-market traffic. The total project cost is $1.3 million.
MN State Community and Technical College, Moorhead Transportation Center, Moorhead
||The Governor recommends $4.363 million to expand the Transportation Center on the Moorhead campus. New labs for the diesel technology program will accommodate larger and more modern diesel agriculture, construction and transportation equipment, and will relieve unsafe congestion in the existing laboratories.
Central Lakes College, Staples
||The Governor recommends $3.054 million to renovate the Staples campus. Core student service functions will be right-sized and reconfigured into a one-stop service center. Additionally, the facility energy systems will be upgraded to include photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient windows and doors.
River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud
||The Governor recommends $11.56 for a grant to the City of St. Cloud to complete an expansion of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The total project cost is approximately $39 million with $26 million already spent.
South Hawk Creek Business Park, Clara City
||The Governor recommends $748,000 for a grant to Clara City for local road construction and water and sewer improvements to a new business park. The total project cost is $1.5 million.
Southwest Regional Sports Center, Marshall
||The Governor recommends $4.298 million in state bonding to construct a southwest regional sports center in Marshall, Minnesota. The sports center would feature two ice sheets that could be converted to volleyball/basketball courts as well as ten outdoor athletic fields that could be used for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, and other field sports.
Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Luverne
||The Governor recommends $20.203 million for a grant to the Lewis and Clark Joint Powers Board for Phase 1 of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System project. Phase 1 will deliver water to the City of Luverne in December 2015. The total project cost is $70.564 million, and it is a three-phase project.
Minnesota State Arena, Mankato
||The Governor recommends $14.5 million for a grant to the City of Mankato for renovating and expanding the Minnesota State Arena and Events Center. The project’s total cost is $32 million.
Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
||The Governor recommends $37 million for a grant to the City of Rochester for the expansion and remodeling of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. The total project cost is $81.1 million.
Winona State University, Winona
||The Governor recommends $3.935 million to begin work on Phase I of the Education Village renovation project. The predesign plan includes the reuse of three buildings that will be renovated into space that integrates specialty labs and classrooms for all education programs.
Minnesota State College, SE Technical, Red Wing / Winona
||The Governor recommends $1.133 million to renovate carpentry classroom space on the Red Wing campus and medical lab space and welding lab space on the Winona campus. The projects will modernize space, convert storage space into classroom space, provide multi-use space that will serve all academic programs of the college, and assist the campuses with better meeting industry standards.
Minnesota Children's Museum, Saint Paul
||The Governor recommends $14 million for a grant to the City of St. Paul to expand and renovate the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The total project cost is $28 million.
TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant), Arden Hills
||The Governor recommends $29 million for a grant to Ramsey County for improvements to bridges and roadways near the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site. A local match is required.
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
||The Governor recommends $20 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis for the revitalization of the Nicollet Mall. The project will rebuild Nicollet Mall from building face to building face and will include pedestrian, roadway, and transitway improvements. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $53 million.
Minnesota State Capitol Restoration, Saint Paul
||The Governor recommends $126.3 million to complete the restoration of the State Capitol Building. The Capitol Resoration project includes repairs to the deteriorating building façade and modernization of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life-safety, security and telecommunication systems.
Click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF.
To see the full list of the Governor's bonding recommendations, please visit this page.
You are formally invited to join Governor Dayton's Council on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday celebration "Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive"
Though his life was tragically cut short, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy as an advocate for civil rights lives on in Minnesota and around the world. On Monday, January 20, Governor Mark Dayton will be joined by keynote speaker Representative Keith Ellison, elected officials, and Governor Dayton’s Council on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday, for a statewide celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration
Every year since 1986, the Governor’s Council on the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday has hosted a statewide event. The theme of this year’s celebration, “Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive,” recognizes that in order to advance toward, and finally achieve Dr. King’s dream of equality for all Americans, we must engage every voice throughout Minnesota in our continuing campaign for justice. Governor Dayton will provide opening remarks about Dr. King’s life and legacy. Other event highlights include performances by diverse groups from around the state, and the presentation of colors by the Minnesota National Guard. The celebration can be viewed via webcast at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5053468/events/2694451. There will be live American Sign Language Interpretation at the event, and on the webcast.
Governor Mark Dayton
Council on Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday
“Lifting Every Voice, Dreaming as We Strive” – a celebration of Dr. King’s life and vision
Monday, January 20, 2014
8:30 am – The Council on Black Minnesotans’ discussion on the 88th legislative session
10:15 am – March Reenactment*
11:00 am – Celebration Program
12:30 pm – Community Meal
Minnesota History Center
345 Kellogg Blvd West
Saint Paul, Minnesota 55102
*Please note: the march reenactment will begin at the Cathedral of Saint Paul and end at the Minnesota History Center.
More on Governor Dayton’s Council on Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday
Through Governor Dayton’s Executive Order, the council is charged with commemorating and celebrating Dr. King’s legacy of equal rights and opportunity. As part of this mission, the council plans an annual event in honor of Dr. King.
$986 Million Bonding Bill Invests in Needed Infrastructure Improvements across Minnesota
ST. PAUL, MN – Governor Mark Dayton today introduced a bonding proposal that would invest $986 million in infrastructure projects statewide, creating more than 27,000 Minnesota jobs1. This new jobs bill would help addresses many of the state’s critical infrastructure needs, while strengthening Minnesota’s economy and getting people back to work.
“My proposals will put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state,” said Governor Dayton. “This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go. Many of them have been delayed for years and are crucial to revitalizing downtown business centers, modernizing MnSCU and U of M buildings and classrooms, and improving parks, roads, and local infrastructure.”
Regional Civic Centers and Downtown Improvements
The Governor’s bonding proposal invests over $104 million in downtown areas and regional centers statewide – projects that will create jobs, attract additional private investment, and support economic development in communities across Minnesota. Some of those downtown investments include:
After more than 25 years of dedicated service to the people of Minnesota, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon has announced she will not seek reelection in 2014. During her time as Lt. Governor, Prettner Solon has distinguished herself as a passionate advocate for Minnesota seniors and Greater Minnesota – and she plans to continue that important work throughout the coming year. local government has laid the foundation for a Better Minnesota; the impact of her accomplishments will be felt for years to come.
Prettner Solon leaves mark on State of Minnesota after more than 25 years in public service
After more than 25 years of dedicated service to the people of Minnesota and the City of Duluth, Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon today announced she will not seek reelection in 2014. Prettner Solon will not seek a second term as Lt. Governor – a role in which she has led landmark efforts to improve the lives of children, senior citizens, veterans, and Minnesotans with disabilities. During her time as Lt. Governor, Prettner Solon has distinguished herself as a passionate, relentless advocate for Minnesota seniors and Greater Minnesota – and she plans to continue that important work throughout the coming year.
“It has been a great privilege, and my distinct honor, to serve the people of Minnesota as Lt. Governor,” said Prettner Solon. “I am proud of the many important achievements we have made over the last three years to build a better Minnesota, and I have no plans to slow down or scale back that work in the year ahead.
“Above all, my work on behalf of Minnesota’s aging population has been rewarding and productive,” said Prettner Solon. “When our elder population stays engaged, and active in their communities, they live longer, healthier, and happier lives. That creates a win-win-win situation for our seniors, our communities, and our state’s health care system. This administration has done nation-leading, transformative work to empower and improve the quality of life enjoyed by Minnesota seniors. I look forward to building on that important progress in 2014.”
Governor Mark Dayton today thanked Lt. Governor Prettner Solon for her distinguished service, and congratulated her on the many policy initiatives and administrative accomplishments she has championed that have improved the lives of Minnesotans, and set our state on course for a better future.
“Throughout her 25 years of devoted public service – as Duluth City Council Member and Council President, State Senator, and Lieutenant Governor – Yvonne Prettner Solon has been a courageous champion for the people of Minnesota,” said Governor Dayton. “Lieutenant Governor Prettner Solon’s tireless leadership on behalf of Minnesota's senior citizens and people with disabilities has greatly improved many lives. She has been key to achieving our administration’s primary mission: building a better Minnesota for all our citizens.
"I thank Yvonne for her invaluable service to our state, and I pledge my continuing support for the important initiatives she has championed as Minnesota's Lieutenant Governor,” Dayton said.
On Friday, Governor Mark Dayton and DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced the launch of a new Minnesota Job Creation Fund at the state Capitol; a new economic development initiative that will help create 5,000 new jobs and attract an estimated $450 million in private investment into Minnesota’s economy.
Today at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton and Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced that businesses looking to expand their operations and hire new workers in Minnesota may now qualify for assistance from the newly-created Minnesota Job Creation Fund. This pay-for-performance business development initiative, administered by the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), will help create an estimated 5,000 new jobs statewide and attract another $450 million of private investment into Minnesota’s growing economy.
“Over the last three years Minnesota has added more than 122,700 new jobs, regaining all the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession,” said Governor Dayton. “But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels now. The strength of our economy and the security of middle class Minnesota families depend on the investments we make today to accelerate job growth and get every Minnesotan back to work. Every job matters; and that is why initiatives like the Minnesota Job Creation Fund are so important.”
The $24 million Minnesota Job Creation Fund, proposed by Governor Dayton and passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013, will replace the state’s JOBZ program, which is set to expire in 2015. The new fund will provide up to $1 million to businesses after they meet certain criteria, including minimum requirements for job creation and private investment. Under the program, businesses must create at least 10 full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 in their own developments to be eligible for financial assistance.
“The Minnesota Job Creation Fund will not only provide access to capital for businesses that need assistance to expand or move their operations to Minnesota, but it will add high-quality jobs to the state’s economy,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “This pay-for-performance tool will continue the economic momentum we have built since recovering from the recession.”
The Department of Employment and Economic Development is currently accepting Minnesota Job Creation Fund applications from businesses seeking financial assistance to expand or locate in Minnesota. Businesses engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and technology may be eligible for assistance. Companies must work with the local government (city, county or township) where a project is located in order to be eligible for assistance. More details about the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, including program requirements and application materials, are available on the DEED website at www.tinyurl.com/JobCreationFund.